Tuesday, December 05, 2017

December Masterpiece of the Month: The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

Who Made It?
A Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso created this painting in 1903.

Where Is the REAL One?
The real painting can be seen at The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL.

Why Is This Artwork Important?
This painting is one of several paintings created during a difficult time in Picasso's life. During this time, there were many different art styles which developed and became popular, such as Modernism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Expressionism, which greatly influenced Picasso. Expressionism refers to art that is an expression of an artist’s individual feelings and personal experience. Poverty, death of a friend and personal struggles caused Picasso to feel deep sadness at the beginning of his career. Because of this, he chose color and symbolism to represent his feelings of sadness, particularly the color blue, which more strongly and effectively convey these emotions. We call this Picasso's "blue period", which lasted three years. Every single element in The Old Guitarist was carefully chosen to create a stronger reaction. The monochromatic color scheme (based on one color) creates flat, two-dimensional forms. Also, the overall dull blue palette creates a general tone of sorrow and tragedy.

The guitarist shows no sign of life and appears to be close to death, implying misery and discomfort. Details are eliminated and his body proportions are manipulated to be elongated and scrawny. This blind and poor musician depends on his guitar and his music for survival and also uses them for expressing emotions. Here, everything seems to be a symbol of loneliness, and a reflection on what Picasso was feeling and experiencing during this time.